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We are in training for Labor Day. We will start the weekend with Canal House Fireworks Friday Supper with finger lickin’ good spareribs and pickles, two kinds of potato salad—classic and lemon mayonnaise, cucumbers with mint, then we’ll finish with chewy brownies. When it gets dark we’ll all walk down to the river to see the fireworks. We made a test run today, and it was a good one, the ribs were sticky with a teriyaki sauce glaze, just as they should be.

With the unofficial end of summer looming this weekend, we are eating from the garden every day this week (and next week, and the week after, until the frost comes). A salad Niçoise of sorts is our lunch today, with Max’s Smoked Atlantic Salmon replacing tuna—marble-sized potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, fat green beans, tiny radishes, and crunchy butter lettuce. Bon appétit.

Believe it or not, we still haven’t had our fill of  local tomatoes yet, so we’re ramping up our intake as summer winds down. Today’s lunch is a take on a classic BLT—a BBT (bacon, basil, and tomato). Necessity being the mother of invention, we were short on lettuce so we used big basil leaves from the garden.  The sandwiches were so good, we may just make them again for dinner tonight.


Every summer we look forward to this very moment—when tomatoes finally taste their most luscious. We’ve been eating them simply—sliced, drizzled with olive oil, or slathered with mayonnaise—like everyone does when it’s tomato season. But today we pulled a sheet of puff pastry out of the freezer to make one of our summertime favorites: Tomato Tart. The dough defrosts while the oven heats up. Then we cover the rolled out pastry with sliced tomatoes, drizzle them with extra-virgin olive oil, and scatter fresh thyme and salt and pepper on top. The tart bakes until the pastry puffs and becomes golden. We had a piece for lunch and the rest we’ll have with a glass of cold rosé this evening. Please join us.

Download Panna Cooking—a great new bimonthly digital magazine—on your phone or ipad, then click this link to see a free video of us making our Tomato Tart! Next time, big hair; more makeup.

For an end of the week splurge (and a big nod to Gotham’s Alfred Portale) we stacked rounds of roasted golden beets and Humbolt Fog cheese, then dressed them with the usual—very good olive oil, salt and pepper, and chives. We tied up two little filets of beef so that they stood up tall, then seared them in a red-hot cast-iron skillet. Felt as fancy as being in New York City. Have a delicious weekend , dear friends.

It’s been pouring rain all day today. It’s chilly, too. We are ready to get out sweaters and build a little fire. So on this first day of August, we are having big bowls of hot chicken vegetable soup for lunch, followed by a salad of peeled, sliced juicy garden tomatoes tossed with arugula, good olive oil, and salt and pepper served right in the same bowls.  Let it keep on pouring. Tomorrow’s forecast is sunny, bright, and 85°.

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